We've been inducting extraordinary works of movie and television into our NOW TV OTB Culture Hall of Fame, and this week Paul Howard has been telling us about his love for the 1970s American crime drama series Columbo!
Peter Falk starred as the detective famous for his trench coat and cigar on the hit show, and author (and creator of Ross O'Carroll-Kelly) Paul told Ger and Eoin on OTB AM that it is a show that he rates very highly indeed.
"Columbo to me is the greatest TV show ever made. I know it's pushing on 50 years now since the first episode but I think it's one of those TV shows that still holds up.
"It's completely different to any other crime drama that went before or has come since in that the format is totally inverted. It's not a 'Whodunnit?'... it was a 'How catch him?'
"You found out in the very first scene who the killer was, why he did it, and how he did it. So you know more than the detective inside the first five minutes.
"The show is essentially how this character, Columbo, picks apart the story, how he solves the crime. It's all old-fashioned police work... it's never DNA, he catches the killer out in a lie.
"The great thing about Columbo is he's really unlike any other detective in that he's really scatter-brained. He's this shambling detective, a lieutenant in the LAPD homicide division.
"He wears this dirty, beige raincoat in the sweltering LA weather. He always has this little cigar between his fingers and there's ash dropping off the end of it. He walks into a crime scene and is spilling ash everywhere.
"He takes out his wife's notebook and discovers his wife's shopping list is written in his notebook. The first person he meets when he gets to the scene is generally the murderer, and he knows almost immediately 'This is the guy who did it.'
"The show is essentially how he psychologically picks them apart. He has all these tricks that he uses to do that, to wrong-foot people he pretends to be really forgetful.
I'm on @offtheball now banging on about my love of Columbo. https://t.co/kd89aRlLF2
— Paul Howard (@AkaPaulHoward) May 13, 2020
"Quite often the murderer is somebody who is quite famous - an author or a famous composer or an actor, because it's set in Hollywood. He will just break off in conversation with the killer to say 'My wife is your biggest fan, my wife absolutely loves your stuff!'
"He kind of leads the killer along by telling them 'I need your big brain to help me solve this crime.' And the killer is generally flattered and thinks 'This guy is an idiot, so I can control the way the investigation goes.'
"But Columbo is always too clever, and he has this great device, and it kind of became his catchphrase. He says something really unsettling to the killer and then he leaves the room.
"When the killer looks really worried, he comes back in and says 'Just one more thing'. And 'just one more thing' is usually something really not relevant at all, but it's just to unsettle the guy."
Catch up on previous episodes of The OTB Culture Hall of Fame:
Episode One - Andy Lee on the magic of Rocky III.
Episode Two - Dermot Kennedy on his obsession with Gladiator.
Episode Three - Stefanie Preissner on The US Office.
Episode Four - Kenny Cunningham on his love of classic British comedies.
Episode Five - Derry Girls star Louisa Harland on Italian mafia series Gomorrah.
Episode Six - Joe Cole on starring in gangster drama Gangs of London.
The OTB Culture Hall of Fame is brought to you by NOW TV, where you can stream classic Box Sets, the latest award-winning TV shows and unmissable movies with a new premier every day. Visit nowtv.com to check out the wide variety of great entertainment and movie options.